Tag Archives: business


If you’ve ever spent a morning trying to track down a lost file on your hard drive or searching through a decade of email, you know that digital disorder can also take a toll on your wellbeing. Most people handle a constant flow of text messages, emails, photos, videos, and other digital information. When all that digital data piles up, it can slow you and your devices down. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to downsizing and organizing your digital clutter.

Get Organized

Does your documents folder or email inbox resemble a junk drawer with everything tossed in together? Do you usually rely on your search box to help you find files? An organization structure can help you declutter, share, synchronize, move, and easily track down files. Follow these simple steps to get your digital life organized:

Designate Categories

Browse through your files and emails and determine the major and minor categories they fall into. For instance, you may be able to divide photos into “work photos,” “family photos, “head shots,” etc. Within those categories, you may have subcategories.

Make Folders

Once you’ve determined what categories and subcategories you want to use for each type of file, make folders or subfolders for them.

Develop Naming Guidelines

Librarians who manage large digital collections use consistent, meaningful, and descriptive names to identify what’s inside each file. Follow suit, and you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to track down specific files and photos when you need them. For documents, designate a naming structure such as “descriptive keywords-type of document.” For example, this article might be named “digital-decluttering-article.” For images, create a structure such as “descriptive keywords-month-year.” For example, vacation photos might be named “Hawaii-vacation-March-2017). For emails, use descriptive subject headings.

Automate Email Organization

Email inboxes can become unmanageable quickly. Depending on your email provider, you can automatically filter incoming emails into certain folders. For instance, all newsletters can be sent to a “newsletters” folder, and emails from colleagues can automatically be sent to a “work” folder.

Declutter Your Digital Past

Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve sorted through your digital data, you may need to do a major purge to get back on track. As with any big organizational project, the hardest part can be getting started. Set aside plenty of time, and commit to going through everything saved on your computer, mobile devices, external hard drive, or in the cloud, including photos, files, and personal records.

How Long to Keep Digital Files - Downsize and Organize Your Digital Clutter

Decluttering can be an emotional process. Set a relaxing tone by listening to music and treating yourself to your favorite beverage. Repeat the decluttering motto: “If in doubt, throw it out,” and begin sorting files into folders. If you find yourself deliberating for more than a minute about keeping any item, create a “maybe” folder, and put it there.

Most of us accumulate a lot of photos and videos, because it’s so inexpensive and easy to snap and upload them these days. Photos and videos can hold a lot of sentimental value and can be difficult to downsize. However, it’s worth it! Not only are these files large and expensive to store; you don’t want to have to scroll through hundreds of files to find the photos that are meaningful to you.

Start by purging the following:

Blurry photos
Extremely similar photos
Photos with poor lighting
Poor quality videos
Photos or videos that no longer hold sentimental value
Photos or videos that are no longer meaningful to you
Back up Important Files
Once you’ve purged and organized, you’ll be left with only those files that are important and meaningful to you. Ensure that they’re safe! Computer hard drives don’t last forever and are susceptible to mechanical defects, virus and malware attacks, accidents, and other threats. Most experts recommend saving important data in three locations. For instance, you could save one copy on your computer’s hard drive, one in a cloud service, and one on an external hard drive.
Digital Decluttering Schedule - Downsize and Organize Your Digital Clutter
Make a Plan
Digital clutter builds up quickly. Get out your calendar, and schedule regular recurring dates with yourself to keep your data in order.

Keeping Data Safe Long-Term - Downsize and Organize Your Digital Clutter

Destination Peace of Mind
Decluttering, organizing, and securing your digital data can be a big task, especially if you haven’t dealt with it for a while. However, your efforts will pay off. You’ll not only keep your computer and devices running well; you’ll likely enjoy greater productivity and peace of mind.

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Choosing a power tie

Dear Kathi,

My business partners make fun of my crazy ties with wild patterns like
chile peppers and pictures of Mickey Mouse. I could really use some help
finding that ultimate power tie.

Bob V. Carlsbad


There is a reason that these types of ties are called novelty ties. They are not to be taken seriously and in my opinion should not be given or worn. I’m glad to hear that you are ready to reform. Power ties are easy to buy. Start your search looking for solid colors. Red is the penultimate power tie color. Gold is the second runner up. Focus your attention on finding ties with discreet patterns and a subtle sheen. Please refrain from wearing shiny ties with large patterns or images. Power is subtle and understated. The strength of a power tie is reflected in it’s refined patterning. Pinstripes are a bit more difficult. Focus on solid colors (preferably red, gold, yellow or silver) and you will be on the right track.

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com
San Diego Professional Organizer

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Organizing Your Holiday Schedule

Dear Kathi,

I get overwhelmed every year around this time and always feel caught between work, family and social obligations. What is the best way to manage my crazy schedule and still maintain my sanity? I would love to be able to enjoy the holidays this year and still handle ALL of my commitments.

Lucille, Del Mar


An overloaded social schedule combined with the demands of entertaining, gift shopping, decorating, and other holiday traditions can evoke panic in even the most organized among us.
Banish preconceived ideas of what the holiday season should be like. Admittedly, this can be a difficult task, but it can also be very liberating. Think about your holiday traditions and try to separate those you truly enjoy from those you feel you “have” to do because you’ve always done so or you are expected by others to do so.
Always think before committing to any responsibility or social event. Ideally, make no snap decisions and give yourself time to reflect on any proposed commitment or responsibility (say you have to check your calendar first).

Decide what is the right level of social activity for you – from a party every day to none at all – and plan accordingly. If you are not a party person, don’t feel that you must attend every party that you are invited to. If you love hosting parties during the holidays, but feel overwhelmed, consider hosting potluck events where your friends and family help contribute with the preparations.

Be very clear about what your priorities are in advance of the holidays. Schedule time to combine obligatory activities with activities that make you happy. December is a time to truly celebrate, not stress. Take small moments every day to relax and nourish your soul.

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Seven Tactics To Create More Time For Fun


1. Learn to say NO

“Life is a journey, but it is not a race. Do yourself a favor and slow down.” Richard Swenson, MD

  • Don’t volunteer until you take a moment to (more…)
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8 Dont’s When Working at Home

Eating on Computer

1.    Don’t let your workspace become a ‘catch all’ for junk or non-work related items. Keep your desktop clutter free, and make family members do the same.

2.    Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by television or computer games during working hours. Set a schedule and stick to it.

3.    Don’t answer the phone every time it rings. Buy a caller ID device and screen each call; this will allow you to see which are really important. You can chat with friends after your work is done for the day.

4.    Don’t eat messy foods at or set uncovered drinks on your desk – this can quickly become a bad habit and puts your computer and files at risk in the event of a spill.

5.    Don’t neglect to use a power strip with a surge protector. This keeps your computer and other electronics safe in case of a storm or other electrical failure.

6.    Don’t let your computer intimidate you. There are many classes available at little or no cost at public libraries and community colleges. These can usually dispel the mystery and make you feel more comfortable.

7.    Don’t let your inbox pile up. This increases the likelihood of something being overlooked and a deadline being missed. A few minutes a day is all it takes to stay on top of things.

8.    Don’t forget to get enough exercise. Take a break from your desk several times a day and rest your eyes and back by doing a few quick stretches. Keep a light work-out DVD on your desk drawer and a mat rolled up within easy reach so you can exercise without leaving the ‘office‘.

If you keep these tips in mind, you will soon form good work habits and your home office will be a productive investment.

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Organize business contacts


Do you feel like you drop the ball on customer follow up? Would you like to keep in touch with your inactive customers? What about contacting prospective clients on a regular basis? Do you have a follow up plan with the business contacts you make while networking? This article will show you tried and true methods to get organized and stay in touch with your clients.

The most important key to customer follow-up is keeping all of your contacts organized within some type of database. Computer programs ACT, Outlook or Entourage can organize and prioritize your client names. If you don’t have a contact management program, you can also use your email database or create a spreadsheet in Excel.

Whatever method you choose, it pays to make the right data base choice in the beginning. Choose a contact management system that will grow with your company, morph with different tasks and upgrade with improved technology. Researching and implementing the right system from the beginning will pay off in spades in the long term.

Once your contacts are saved into one database, you can begin to create your company follow-through protocol. For this task, you will need to set up a calendar reminder system.

If you use a smartphone or PDA, your reminders can be programmed into your schedule. ACT, Outlook and Entourage provide quick reminders in your daily schedule and provide am auto dial option from your computer. You can be alerted every day when a client should be called or a follow up appointment scheduled. A huge benefit of these programs is the ability to schedule all of your follow up calls and letters when you input the new contact name. There is also new technology available that allows you to download your tasks and client info into your cell phone.

The software from your email database or an Excel spreadsheet will also work but it is more difficult to link directly to a reminder calendar. To use this system, store each name into a group. For instance, group your weekly calls, monthly calls etc. into subfolders. This method definitely requires more time and personal organizational skills. You will need to print this list regularly, make hand-written notes and refer to it as you make calls.

If you don’t use computers, you can rely on paper methods for follow-up. As you meet a new contact or gather a referral, record it onto a master list. Make sure each name has ample space to the right of it for checkmarks to record each completed task.

While you are recording the new contact info, address several envelopes to that person and note on each envelope when it should be mailed. Additionally, mark your schedule for the follow-up calls. At the appointed time, mail a follow-up letter to the recipient. As you make follow-up phone calls and send letters, keep track by adding a checkmark and date beside the name.

Pre-printed postcards are a very cost-effective way to keep in touch with customers and prospects. Mail these on a regularly basis.

The best follow-up occurs when it is scheduled into recurring time slots within your workweek. This might sound basic, but calls fall through the cracks as we get caught up in the “busyness” of our business. When you block the same hour every day for customer follow-up, it will become a habit and you will more likely attend to the important task of generating good customer service, referrals and client rapport.

Kathi is a Professional Organizer, image Consultant based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com

San Diego Professional Organizer

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Small Business Development Center North San Diego County 760-795-8740

For Immediate Release through September 30, 2010:

For More Information: Lynn Pittman 619-542-1898 Cell 619-316-6879 or lynnpittman@cox.net

MiraCosta College SBDC’s Young Entrepreneurs Project (YEP) Gives Students Real Experience and Information On How To Start And Manage A Company

San Diego, CA – On Thursday, September 30, 2010 join local author, entrepreneur and founder of addSpace To Your Life, Kathi Burns, at the Oceanside Barnes and Noble, 2615 Vista Way Oceanside, CA 92054 from 6-8 p.m. for the Fundraiser and Kick-Off Event of MiraCosta College Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Fall 2010 Young Entrepreneurs Project or YEP.  Admission is Free and families are encouraged to attend.

YEP teaches high school and college students how to start and manage a business promoting entrepreneurship as a career. There is a business plan competition with the opportunity for participants to win $1,000 to start a business. “Barnes and Noble created The YEP Entrepreneur Author Series and Book Fair fundraiser to kick off the third year of MiraCosta College SBDC’s Young Entrepreneurs Project to promote entrepreneurship, reading, and to help secure funding and prize money for YEP,” explains Joseph Molina, MiraCosta College SBDC’s YEP Coordinator.

Kathi Burns has been featured regularly in Better Homes and Gardens and on local, regional and national media.  She will share tips with the audience on how to get organized and save time so they can live their purpose by doing what they love in life. This is a great presentation for all ages. Kathi will sign copies of her newest book How to Master Your Muck. Barnes and Noble will donate 20% of all purchases to help fund the MiraCosta College Small Business Development Center’s YEP program.  For information concerning the September 30th YEP fundraiser and program visit http://www.yepsbdc.info/index.htmlYEP is open to all students and free to join.  Shoppers can provide Book Fair ID 10257871 at the Barnes and Noble Oceanside location or at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/bookfairs/ to support YEP from 09/30/10 to 10/05/10 20% of their purchases will be donated to YEP. Find out more about syndicated columnist, professional organizer, image consultant and spokesperson Kathi Burns at www.addSpaceToYourLife.com.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our nation and we are dedicated to encouraging and giving students the knowledge and confidence to choose entrepreneurship as a career. The creativity and hard work demonstrated by past YEP participants is inspiring.  As we enter the third year of the MiraCosta College SBDC’s YEP program, it continues to grow thanks to partnerships with local businesses, organizations and schools. YEP is featured in high school, college and university business programs.  We created the YEP Entrepreneur Author Series with Barnes and Noble to promote local authors and entrepreneurship as a career.  We are excited to have Kathi Burn open the series,” explains Molina.

“I am a self confessed serial entrepreneur who is committed to helping others achieve the “American Dream” of owning their own business,” declares Kathi Burns.  “There is nothing like having your own company. It’s better than chocolate! Many of my clients are entrepreneurs looking for office organization, time management and image consulting to help them achieve their dreams.  I also work with a lot of families in organizing systems, workspaces and schedules so they can spend more time together. My newest book, How to Master Your Muck, provides easy solutions to help everyone get organized, update their image and manage their time,” says Kathi. “I am excited to be a part of the YEP Kick-Off Event,” Kathi continues, “ Everyone has muck. Muck could be a cluttered desk or mind, an unorganized filing system, an over-active in box, an outdated image or unrealistic calendar.”

The YEP curriculum is online and supported through the MiraCosta College SBDC and Business Department as well as California Virtual Enterprise.  “High school students gain team building skills, confidence and practical experience that will not only help them run and operate a business, but any endeavor,” says James Hayes, YEP Coordinator and Virtual Enterprise (VE) Instructor for the Vista Unified School District. VE is a course in which students set up and run a simulated business in order to prepare them for working in a real business environment and the course is articulated with MiraCosta College. With the guidance of a teacher and real-world business partners, the students determine the nature of their business, its products and services, its management and structure, and engage in the daily operations of running a business. Upon the completion of YEP, students will know exactly how to start and run a business.

About the Young Entrepreneurs Project (YEP) -YEP is sponsored by MiraCosta College Small Business Development Center. The SBDC provides no cost consulting services and no or low cost workshops to existing businesses and entrepreneurs. Since 1999 the SBDC, located at 1823 Mission Ave in Oceanside, CA, has assisted over 13,000 business people establish 223 new businesses, create 1,000 new jobs, add $64.5 million in sales, retain 600 jobs and secure more than $23 million in loans. For more information about the SBDC North San Diego County, visit www.sandiegosmallbiz.com.

The SBDC is hosted by MiraCosta College and funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small

Business Administration (SBA) and by the California Community Colleges Economic & Workforce Development Program (EWD) and extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis.  All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or the Chancellor’s Office of California Community Colleges.

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Business Holiday Attire

Dear Kathi,

I have several events directly after work that I need to dress up for. My work dress code is very conservative. What can I do to look festive without bringing an entire second outfit to work for these events?

Marcie, San Marcos


Going directly from the office to an evening function is a breeze with the proper accessories. Apply more blush and a deeper lip color to transition into evening activities.
Revamp your business pantsuit by taking off your blouse & buttoning your jacket all the way up or switching into a little glittery top. Accent this with a stylish necklace or a long string of pearls, patent leather evening bag & high-heeled shoes.
Another option is to swap your slacks with a skirt, hose, high-heeled party shoes and sparkly, festive earrings.
Have a fabulous festive holiday season!

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Women’s Global Network Get What You Want More Often

WGN is the the Women’s Global Network is an International business network for successful women. When I recently attended the local San Diego Chapter meeting, I met several (more…)

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Women In Business Symposium – Coming May 14th!

It’s time to mark your calendar and make your reservation to attend the San Diego Women in Business Symposium. May 14, 2009 is the date and it will again be held in the Exhibition Hall of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. This year’s theme is Sharing the Power of Just Go For It!

WIBS is one of the best places to get inspired and spend the day listening and (more…)

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